Sunday, January 26, 2020

This blog

This blog is a copy and paste of various forum posts from an old website called  The posts and comments are from various authors.

Singapore - activities

One thing that has to be said about Singapore is that it is well designed and has plenty of recreational activities. Parks and other facilities are spread out throughout the island, so that there is always something nearby any area that you are staying in. Among the few things that I noticed while living there for a year was:

1) Libraries. The Singapore library system is very good, integrated, and has lots of branches all over the island.

2) Parks. There are small playgrounds readily accessible to all of the high density housing areas. The place that we stayed at had at least 4 to choose from within a few minutes walk. They are well maintained and have good equipment. Larger parks have more facilities, and can be easily accessed by bus. Parks are spread out throughout the island. Details of each are on their website: Parks are connected for biking, jogging, etc:

3) Community centers. There are various centers from very small to large, throughout the island. They run activities and courses for all ages.

4) Science center: This is a bit far away on one side of the island. It has a yearly family membership program though, so you can enjoy many trips out there. There is a lot to do, and things are always changing. They also have an imax theatre.

Other than that, there are a lot of museums and other activities that can be found. Getting a good travel guide will help you plan your free time.

Singapore - cost of living

I've seen references saying that the cost of living in Singapore is very high compared to many other countries. I would have to disagree with that in some aspects (based on living there for one year).

What is high:

Rent. Depending on location and quality, prices can pretty high. Although if you stay out farther on the edges of the island and not in close proximity to a train station, you should be able to get a more affordable place.

Vehicles. If you're not very rich, don't bother. Singapore tries to limit the number of vehicles on the island, so they only allow a certain number of vehicles to be purchased every year. This is done by auction, and the permits are likely going to be more than the cost of most cars. The public transport there is excellent, and taxis are widely available. There really isn't a need for a car. Its purely a status symbol there.

What is not high:

Education. I was quite surprised how cheap the islamic kindergartens and primary/secondary madrasa seemed to be.
Food. In most cases, I found the prices of groceries to be similar to what you would see in Malaysia once you convert SGD to MYR. Eating out is not much different as well.
Transport. Public transport isn't too expensive.
Internet/utilities. I don't remember these being very high either.

Singapore - general Islamic info

Without going into too much detail here, the majority of Singapore's muslims are Malay, so they are very similar in beliefs and practices you would find in Malaysia (see the forum there). There are several other pseudo-islamic sects that you will find in Singapore, which are more underground in Malaysia. There is an Ahmadiyyah masjid (masjid taha), a baha'i organization, as well as a Shia masjid. Some sunni masjids have more than one solat time due to madhab differences.

There is a government agency controlling islamic affairs ( They help handle general muslim affairs (masjids, zakat, marriage, funeral, etc). There is a halal certification for Singapore, however in comparison to Malaysia, there are far less restaurants and food suppliers that bother with selling halal food. The Islamic hub is located in Toa Payoh North bordering Bishan. There is a madrasah school in the same compound as Muis and one of the larger masjids. Some masjids will display translations of the Khutbah in english on projectors.

Other than masjids, prayer space is almost non existant. There are some websites that try to keep up with Musollah locations, but if you start looking in Singapore, the results are quite strange. In the year that I lived there, I don't think I found any place outside of a masjid. Usually what was listed was stairwells, part of a parking lot, going to some office and asking for a specific person so you can use their closet, etc. There are a fair number of masjids at least, though they may be out of walking distance, and transport may be a bit slow.

Singapore - prayer locations

What was once a few online text lists of prayer locations has now been moved to a better (map integrated) site including masjids and other prayer locations A mobile application also exists for this purpose:

Alternatively, this site has recent postings (with pictures):

Singapore - halal food

The Singapore Islamic council has a halal certification program and also provides a list of certified locations: Unfortunately the list is a PDF, so its not quite so useful as a search system.

Singapore - Permanent residency

From what I have heard and read, Singapore PR doesn't have much for time requirements in terms of when you can apply. Its open for anyone there on a work pass. Approval is based on a wide range of evaluation criteria (length of time there, family ties, job skills, ability to contribute, education background, your age [younger is better], etc).

The island is suffering from the same problem that is found in Japan. The country's population is shifting towards age imbalance with too many people aging and the younger generation not having enough kids. So, besides providing incentives for locals to have more kids, the PR program is set up to help bring in younger people who can contribute economically.

One thing to note, PR's may be required to serve in national service. This may vary depending on the type of PR path you take and other factors.

Reference 1
Reference 2